Easy Pie Crust

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Introduction: Easy Pie Crust

This fool-proof, easy pie crust recipe ensures a perfect, flaky crust every time.

The trick is in the vodka! Being only 80-proof, most of the vodka evaporates in the baking process, meaning the crust dough gets the liquid it need to be formed, but most of it will not stay, leaving you with a perfect, flaky crust. And, vodka is, by definition, colorless and odorless, so once it's baked, you'll forget it was ever in there.

If you prefer not to use vodka, swap it for cold water.

Originally titled Foolproof Pie Dough, Cooks Illustrated, November 2007

Step 1: Ingredients

To make two 9-inch crusts

  • 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour - make sure you measure it right!
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 cup cold vegetable shortening, cut into small bits
  • 1/4 cup cold vodka
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • Food processor, dough cutter, or fork & knife

Step 2: Mash It Up

Process 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, and sugar in food processor until combined, about 2 one-second pulses.

Add butter and shortening and process until dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 15 seconds (there should be no uncoated flour).

Scrape bowl with rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade.

Add remaining cup flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl and mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses.

Empty mixture into medium bowl.

Step 3: Add Cold Liquids

Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture.

With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together.

Step 4: Wrap It Up

Divide dough into two even balls and flatten each into 4-inch disk.

Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.

Step 5: Good to Go

Once your dough is thoroughly chilled - as firm as a cold stick of butter - it's ready to roll out.

Roll the dough out between two pieces of plastic wrap to prevent dough from sticking to the counter and your roller. It also prevents the need to add more flour, which can make your dough tough. (hm, "dough" and "tough" - looks like they should rhyme. . . ) Make sure you pull any folds out of the plastic every few rolls to ensure that the dough remains smooth.

To fit this in a standard 9" pie dish, roll it out to a 12" circle. If your dough has gotten soft or warmer in the time you have been rolling it out, slide it into the freezer for 10 minutes to get it firm again.

Carefully transfer your dough to the pie plate by folding the dough gently into quarters and unfolding in the pan, or by wrapping it around your rolling pin and gently unrolling it into the pan.. Working around the circumference of the pie plate, ease dough the dough into the corners by gently lifting dough edges with one hand while pressing around pan bottom with other hand.

If you're making a single crust pie, crimp the edges decoratively with your fingers or the flat side of a fork at even intervals and add the filling according to your recipe's instructions.

If you're making a double-crust or latticed pie, leave dough that overhangs the lip of plate in place, and follow recipe directions.

Hooray! You made perfect pie crust! Wait for the oohs and ahhs to roll in.

Step 6: Pre Baking

Some recipes call for a pre-baked pie crust.   For optimal results, I recommend the following:

Poke a bunch of holes in the crust with a fork.  This prevents air pockets from distorting the shape.

Line the crust with foil and fill with pie weights.  I never have pie weights around (having never purchased any), but I do always have some sort of small hardware on hand.  Here I used lag bolts in place of pie weights.

Bake at 375oF (190oC) for about 20 minutes.  Remove the weights and foil and bake another 5-10 minutes, until golden.


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45 Comments

Instead of the fold-and-transfer method, since you're already rolling it out between two sheets of cling wrap, just remove the top one, you can flip your pie pan upside down and transfer the crust that way. I use a glass pie dish so that does make it a bit simpler.

Is there a weight we could get on the flour? 2-1/2 cups enters the realm I'd rather weigh. But I have cup-measured chillin' in the fridge right now. Though, I had to measure the flour with a 1/2 cup measure and I'm not sure if I put in the final 1/2 cup...

Any idea of how this would taste using one of the new & nifty flavored Vodkas, instead of the plain stuff?? I picked up a Pineapple Vodka & a Berry Vodka on my last cruise to Alaska. Never was a Vodka fan until these.

I've used the "vinegar" recipe most of my life, and it's been awesome, but I'm always willing to try something new!

The vodka adds extra liquid to make the dough easier to work with and the alcohol does not form gluten in the dough making it harder to overwork dough. If you want to substitute butter for the shortening, remember butter is upto 20% water. so you may need more butter and less water. Resting dough lets the flout fully absorb the liquid and the gluten created will loosen up and make dough easier to roll out without springing back

im 13 is the vodka necesary??????

Vinegar is good - I've used that a lot since I was a kid!!

not necessary at all, try using vanilla or another flavoring.